Pennsylvania state troopers union demands Gov. Tom Wolf apologize for remarks

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The head of the Pennsylvania State Trooper Association called Monday for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to issue an apology for remarks he made toward police in a recent letter to state employees regarding the Juneteenth holiday.

The union’s criticism centered on the content of Wolf’s letter last Friday informing employees that Friday, June 18 would be a state holiday this year. Juneteenth, an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, has been officially observed in Pennsylvania since 2019.

"Juneteenth is a celebration of the progress we have made as a nation towards equality and justice for all," Wolf said in the letter. "Sadly, the continued death of African Americans at the hands of police … are painful reminders that racism and intolerance are still with us today."

Wolf’s letter drew a sharp condemnation from PTSA President David Kennedy.

"Let me be clear: Pennsylvania state troopers support the Juneteenth holiday. But for Gov. Wolf to use his platform to further push a false narrative that police are racist murderers is nothing less than the worst kind of political pandering," Kennedy said in a statement obtained by PennLive.com. "It only serves to further divide our nation at the expense of officers who already work incredibly dangerous jobs."

Kennedy accused Wolf of ignoring violent crime in Philadelphia.

"It’s clear Gov. Wolf would rather play politics. We won’t," Kennedy added. "Troopers want to have real conversations about moving forward together to benefit all residents of this great commonwealth. But we cannot have a real conversation as long as the leader of our commonwealth pits everyone against the police. This must end now."

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Wolf’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Representatives for Pennsylvania state troops have been critical of Wolf’s administration in recent weeks. In March, Kennedy publicly called for the governor to prioritize state troopers and other first responders for vaccinations.

Kennedy also alleged that the state had failed to provide face masks for state troopers.